Illinois Issues

flickr/dnak

Soon after taking office, Gov. Bruce Rauner set a goal of  cutting Illinois' prison population by a quarter over the next decade. But the current budget crisis has cut off funding for programs that could be key to meeting his target.  

Illinois State Police

The state’s heroin crisis has captured headlines and the attention of lawmakers. But in the past few years, the number of methamphetamine lab busts has crept back up, and law enforcement officials say the drug is also coming into the state from Mexico. 

flickr/ Bill Brooks

Bipartisan working groups are currently trying to find a way out of the budget impasse. But the crisis could have been prevented long before the battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders began.

Illinois Issues: A Schooling in Democracy

May 5, 2016
Chicago Public Schools Board of Education

State lawmakers are considering whether school board members in Chicago should be elected — as they are in all other Illinois school districts.

flickr/ Jim Bowen

Looking beyond our state’s borders and into Illinois’ past for a playbook to end the current budget standoff. 

Flickr user: TaxCredits.net

Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax. The reasons can be traced to the state’s first-ever successful attempt at putting an income tax in place.  

An effort to change the current tax structure is underway, but supporters face a fast-approaching deadline.  

public domain

High school seniors who plan to go on to college should be finalizing their dorm and roommate choices about now.

But this year, those decisions aren’t about who brings the mini-fridge. With a total lack of  state funding for higher education, it’s about which schools and programs will be fiscally stable, or whether to go at all.

Sarah Mueller

Cities in Illinois and across the country have laws regulating panhandling. But courts are tossing them out, and Springfield’s ordinance could be next. How can local governments balance First Amendment rights and maintaining public order? 

Illinois Issues: What Can Save The Bees?

Mar 31, 2016
University of Illinois Bee Lab

Bees are essential to our lives, yet they are dying by the thousands. Experts say there's no one solution for protecting them. 

Illinois Issues: The Next Pension Time Bomb

Mar 30, 2016

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

Frank de Kleine/Flickr

 A new state law aims to end the days of women having to choose between a healthy pregnancy and work, but has it been effective?

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

With victories Tuesday in Illinois and elsewhere, Donald Trump is continuing his march toward the Republican presidential nomination. Those contemplating what a Trump presidency would look like might consider Illinois' ongoing case study in the promise and perils of the businessman-turned-politician.

flickr/ Leonard J. DeFrancisci

The country seems especially divided over the 2016 race for president. But there was a time in Illinois history when division led to bloodshed over political campaigns. 

The governor's budget address had few specifics about his priorities, or his plans to balance the state's spending with its revenue. 

flickr/ Zoe Hoornaert

A couple of legislative primary races are serving as stand-ins for the political struggle between the governor and Democratic leaders. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama a few months ago.

public domain

Congress recently authorized a complete rewrite of the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act. What does that mean for Illinois?

flickr/ Emilio Kuffer

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan for next fiscal year seeks to fix the foundation while the house is on fire.

Syrian Community Network

Historically, Illinois has been a leading state in refugee resettlement, but lately it seems less welcoming to some.

flickr/ rabiem22

Commentary — Might we be seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it the headlamps of the ongoing train wreck that is Illinois, picking up speed? Such questions came to mind listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address last week.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to get the state out of legal agreements called consent decrees. The deals are a big part of the reason the government is still operating without a budget; they also impact the lives of thousands of Illinois residents. But unless you are affected by one, you've probably never heard of them. 

Black Lives Matter Champaign-Urbana

It’s one of the largest activist movements since the civil rights era of the 1960s. It’s more than just a hashtag, and it’s about more than police. What's the impact of Black Lives Matter as an organization and a philosophy? And will it be enough to bring about lasting and significant changes in Illinois and across the country? 

Flickr user: Dean Hochman

Lawmakers return to Springfield with some new ideas, but the unfinished business of 2015 will likely overshadow other topics in the second year of the legislative session. 


Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Most experts say the governor’s target of a 25 percent reduction in the state's prison population can't be met by simply backing off the war on drugs. Instead, policymakers will have to look beyond the "nons” — nonviolent, nonserious and nonsexual offenders — and in so doing, challenge entrenched attitudes about crime and justice. 

Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

More than 200 new laws will go into effect in Illinois on January 1.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois got a new governor in 2015 but not a budget. In terms of state government, a lot has—and hasn’t — happened in the past year.

Illinois Issues: No Place To Call Home - Pt. 3

Dec 17, 2015
Kartemquin

The state budget impasse could put more young people out on the streets this winter.  

Pew Research Center

  The middle class is no longer the nation’s economic majority. That is according to last week’s Pew Research Center analysis of government data, and a local economist says the trends for the nation are likely duplicated in Illinois.

Will Clayton

The Illinois Constitution turns 45 on December 15. As the document reaches its birthday, Charlie Wheeler looks at the ways it modernized government. 

Illinois Issues: No Place To Call Home - Pt. 2

Dec 3, 2015
David Wilson

The second installment of a three-part series on homelessness looks at how the problem plagues Illinoisans in the state’s rural reaches, too

Pages